Researchers in London were able to create a fiber optic connection capable of transmitting 178.08 terabits (Tb) of data per second. The speed is sufficient to transmit the content of 222 Blu-Ray discs, with images in very high definition in a single second. Data exchange is on average three times faster than today’s best fiber connections.
The research is carried out by scientists at University College London (UCL) under the leadership of Brazilian Lídia Galdino. The study described in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters may lead to the emergence of new types of high speed broadband connection in the future.
To give you a clearer idea of the speed, 178.08 Tb is equivalent to 22.25 TB (terabytes) of data every second. For comparison, the Google submarine cable connecting the United States and Japan accounts for 60 Tb / s, or 7.5 Terabytes per second between the two countries.
All that speed puts the 5G in perspective. The 178.08 Tb / s is equivalent to a 16.8 THz (terahertz) bandwidth, while 5G’s mmWave standards are at 24 GHz (or 0.024 THz) for speeds between 1 and 3 Gb / s.
The solution found by the scientists to increase the transmission capacity of the optical fiber was to create a system in which the cables use a larger than normal group of light colors. The output allows the fiber to increase the capacity of transmitted data.
For this to work, modifications were necessary to amplify the signal and correct inconsistencies between the different frequencies of light, such as a new geometric pattern that carefully alternates brightness, phase and polarization of the different wavelengths (or “colors”), so that those light pulses can carry more information without interfering with each other.
The need to amplify the signal is similar to the way a Wi-Fi repeater works: after a certain distance, the tendency is that the light signal inside the cable starts to lose intensity and to be absorbed by the medium.